Name: Sydney Huff
Class Year: 2018
Hometown: Steubenville. Ohio
Internship Placement: Grow Ohio Valley
Job Title: Farm Hand
Location: Wheeling, W.Va.
What’s happening at your internship?
Grow Ohio Valley is an organization that serves the residents of the Ohio Valley with local and organic produce. Our farm sites are located throughout East Wheeling, which is a more impoverished area of the city of Wheeling, West Virginia. I work more closely with the farmers, so we are out in the field every day preparing the ground or constructing beds for new plants, along with maintaining and harvesting other plants. We grow a variety of produce including melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, and raspberries. We planted an orchard this year with about 200 apple trees. The goal is to be able to supply residents throughout the Ohio Valley with locally grown apples within the next few years. Grow Ohio Valley sells some of their produce in a mobile market which travels to sites where residents, especially the elderly, are unable to leave their homes. Because it is a nonprofit organization, they accept and give double the value to food stamps and senior vouchers, although they would never turn someone away who is unable to afford any of their produce.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied to this internship because I live in the Ohio Valley and felt connected with Grow Ohio Valley’s mission when I heard about them. I am well aware of the issues of poverty and joblessness within my community, and I was thrilled to hear about an organization who is taking a hands-on approach to combatting food insecurity and inaccessibility within the Ohio Valley.
The group integrates with the community in order to assess and properly meet the needs of and to educate residents about the value of eating organic and local foods.
What is most rewarding about your internship?
What’s most rewarding to me about this internship is knowing that I am bringing back agriculture and sustainable labor to my community. The Ohio Valley was a leader in industry until the deindustrialization period during the 1980s. I am proud to be serving my community in a manner that reflects the lives of our past family members who tirelessly worked to build their lives. Because of the current economic climate, many families within the Ohio Valley do not have jobs that allow them to afford produce, let alone organic produce. Grow Ohio Valley noticed this need within my community and also works tirelessly to revitalize the area with fruitful labor.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
I am learning the basics of organic farming along with the ingenuity as to how to maximize space to yield the most nutritious produce that we can. I am interested in agriculture and can see myself holding a future within urban farming, so learning these skills is giving me the confidence to continue to find further interest within agriculture.